Red Sox minor league roundup: Sean-o-Meter in full effect; Henry Owens, Pat Light sail

April 13, 2013 - 6:50 am
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A case could have been made to have Sean Coyle open 2013 in Double-A. The second baseman had spent all of 2012 in High-A Salem as one of the youngest players in the Carolina League. After a first-half struggle (.211 average, .285 OBP, .343 slugging, a strikeout for every 3.6 plate appearances), he seemed to take a considerable step forward after the All-Star break (.297/.355/.451 with his strikeout rate cut to once for every 5.3 plate appearances), resembling once again the player who showed a surprising mixture of plate discipline and pop in Single-A Greenville in 2011 (.247/.362/.464, 14 HR, 20 SB). Moreover, Coyle had an outstanding spring training. The 5-foot-8 third-round pick out of the 2010 draft drew raves, hitting for average, getting on base and showing the consistent ability to drive the ball while spending most of March with the Double-A club. But given the struggles he endured in 2012, the Sox felt that it made sense for Coyle to return to High-A, to demonstrate once again that he could not simply compete but that he could dominate at a level. That, after all, was the expectation for a player who received a $1.3 million signing bonus to pass on his scholarship to the University of North Carolina. It's early, obscenely early, in 2013, but it would be hard to imagine a better start for Coyle than the one that has characterized his first six games with Salem this year. On Friday night, Coyle launched a pair of solo homers -- one pulled to left field, the other driven out to right-center (even with the aid of the wind, no small feat for the cavernous ballpark in Salem) -- in his four plate appearances for the second multi-homer game of his career (the first of which came in September 2011). Coyle's performance to this point has been ridiculous. He's reached base multiple times in all six games that he's played. He has six extra-base hits (three homers, two doubles, a triple), four walks and two strikeouts. He's hitting .391 with a .481 OBP and .957 slugging mark. For good measure, he's swiped a pair of bases. While the Sox elected to open the year with Coyle repeating at the level where he spent all of 2012, the second baseman is making a compelling case to make his stay back in Salem as short as possible. TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: RAINED OUT VS. ROCHESTER (TWINS) -- The PawSox will play a twinbill doubleheader on Saturday, with Game 1 starting at 12:05 pm. DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: RAINED OUT AT NEW BRITAIN (TWINS) -- The make-up date has yet to be announced. HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 7-2 WIN VS. MYRTLE BEACH (RANGERS) (BOX) -- Left-hander Henry Owens had his second straight strong start to begin the season, logging five innings and permitting two runs on four hits while striking out five and walking one. In 10 innings this season, he's given up just six hits (.171 batting average against) with nine strikeouts and three walks. -- Though Garin Cecchini saw his streak of four straight multi-hit games come to an end, he did go 1-for-4 with a double to extend his hitting streak to five. His double came against a right-hander -- the first extra-base hit of the young season for the left-handed Cecchini against a righty. Interestingly, he's off to a tremendous start against southpaws (8-for-14, two doubles) with modest totals against right-handers (3-for-13). -- Outfielder Keury De La Cruz, who was one of the most impressive performers in minor league camp during spring training, went 2-for-4 with a triple and a stolen base. It was the first multi-hit game of the year for the 21-year-old, and the first steal of the year for a player who reached the 20/20 plateau in 2012, a season spent primarily in Greenville. -- Deven Marrero went 1-for-3 with a double and a walk. He already has five doubles this year, all of which have come against left-handers (against whom Marrero is 6-for-12 in the early-going). SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 6-4 WIN, 5-2 WIN AT LEXINGTON (ASTROS) (BOX GAME 1, BOX GAME 2) -- Right-hander Pat Light, a supplemental first rounder in last year's draft, earned his first professional win. The giant (6-foot-8) right-hander with a mid- to high-90s fastball that he pounds down in the strike zone for both swings and misses and tons of groundballs allowed one run on just three hits (a solo homer and two singles -- one of the infield variety) while punching out six, walking none and getting six groundball outs. Light showed the ability this spring to get some swings and misses on his slider while also working to incorporate a changeup, but the right-hander -- somewhat like Matt Barnes a year ago -- has the ability to dominate in the lower levels solely on the strength of his fastball. Thus, while incorporating secondary stuff will be a point of emphasis for Light while he's with Greenville (and, indeed, helps to explain in part why he was assigned to Single-A instead of High-A to open the year), he certainly would be a candidate for a mid-season promotion to Greenville if his fastball simply overmatches opponents in the South Atlantic League. -- Outfielder Aneury Tavarez had a pair of hits in both halves of the doubleheader, and the 20-year-old (who turns 21 on Sunday) now has three straight two-hit games. -- Second baseman Mookie Betts matched a career high with three hits in the second game of the doubleheader. He also stole his first base of the year after swiping 20 (in 24 attempts) last year in Lowell. PROGRAMMING NOTE: Down on the Farm will air on Sunday morning from 8:30-9 a.m. on WEEI. This week's episode will focus on the Red Sox' preparations for the 2013 draft, with the team's amateur scouting director Amiel Sawdaye discussing the work of his department at the mid-point of this year's scouting cycle and ESPN's Keith Law discussing some of the candidates for the Red Sox' selection at the No. 7 overall pick in the draft -- the team's highest pick in 20 years.